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How to avoid losing hope in the world of work?

The link between perseverance and motivation

Marakoudja has four core values that permeate everything we do: pragmatism, passion, transparency and perseverance. In this article I will be looking at the motivation that is essential if we want to ‘keep on keeping on’.

Here’s one dictionary definition of the word ‘motivation’: “A broad category of internal determinants that influence behaviour, thinking and mood”.[1]

You’ll agree that this is a relatively broad definition. To bring things down to earth, here is a real-life case that involved me.

Generally speaking I’m a pretty perseverant person and my motivation levels tend to remain high on their own. But recently I got discouraged, and my motivation whittled away. What’s more, the loss of motivation was shared by my project team.

I wondered why I should actually persevere in the first place. I tried to understand what was going on around me and, most importantly, think about what I could do to turn the situation round.

My initial thoughts focused on expectations. Here I found myself expecting others to change so that I could regain motivation, which in turn would give me the energy I needed in order to persevere.

These were the kind of thoughts bouncing around in my head:

  • If only my client could tell me clearly whether they are happy with the service I’m providing, or not

  • If only the team members could acknowledge my experience and show appreciation whenever I contribute something

This was accompanied by other thoughts which shifted the responsibility for my motivation levels on to other people.

Obviously that kind of thinking does not help me grow as a person. And if I’d told people what I was thinking, I don’t think much would have changed as a result.

My next step was to regain a sense of perspective. So I took some time off, which enabled me to take a step back. During this time I made sure I wasn’t spending time on the project, even mentally.

By taking time out, I was able to return to the project in a more proactive frame of mind.

I realised that I myself could take action regarding the source of my ‘demotivation’. I could deconstruct those negative thoughts telling me that others should change so that I might feel better. Most importantly, I could change my vantage point. This means understanding that, in this example, it’s not the job of my client or fellow team members to sustain my motivation levels. That kind of change can only originate from within a person.